Biden Laments That ‘Silly Balloon’ Caused Rift Between Him And China

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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President Joe Biden expressed regret at the G7 summit Sunday that a “silly balloon” incident earlier in 2023 caused a major rift in U.S.-China relations.

Biden went on to say he expects relations with China to “thaw very shortly,” despite Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Beijing remaining postponed since February and China suspending cooperation with the U.S. on issues such as fentanyl and climate change. It is unclear at this time whether Biden was referring to a specific breakthrough that’s pending, or just a general thawing of tensions.

“This silly balloon that was carrying two freight cars’ worth of spying equipment was flying over the United States, and it got shot down, and everything changed in terms of talking to one another,” Biden said Sunday. “I think you’re going to see that begin to thaw very shortly.”

The Biden administration made the decision to shoot down the spy balloon off the east coast of the United States, but not until it had traversed across the entirety of North America, beginning in Alaska. The White House said it didn’t shoot down the balloon earlier due to safety concerns, even though lawmakers from states the balloon flew over implored them to do so.

Biden added he would characterize the United States’ relationship with Japan as the strongest it’s ever been. (RELATED: Top Biden Official Retires After Alleged Weakness On China Exposed)

Biden opted not to follow through with a planned trip to Australia and Papua New Guinea after he left Japan at the conclusion of the G7, instead choosing to return to Washington to focus on debt ceiling negotiations with Republicans in Congress.